Enterprises have a rising need for rapid communication between teams, departments, locations, clients, and partners. Cloud-based solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams are popular, but in industries with stringent security requirements, they lack vital functionality for protecting data.
As a result, your enterprise may eventually consider whether it should replace or complement its SaaS-based chat tool with an on-premise one. But is it really worth making the change?
The disadvantages of choosing SaaS over on-premise hosting tools
Most large organizations use multiple Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, accessed through web browsers and mobile apps. With SaaS messaging tools, your messaging data—and data from any files you share—is stored on the provider’s own servers.
Some of the most popular messaging services, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, operate with a SaaS model and therefore store your data in the cloud.
While a SaaS model offers easy access and lower maintenance for the enterprise, there are several drawbacks to using cloud-hosted software.
- Cybersecurity risks: Recent reports estimate the number of cybersecurity incidents at 27,351 per year. This increasing level of cybercrime makes cloud-hosted solutions for data and messaging inherently risky. When sensitive data, including chat logs and files, is stored externally, there’s always at least a chance that hackers will try to access it.
- Compliance issues: Many cloud-based messaging apps offer end-to-end encryption to ensure data protection. But for some industries such as legal, financial, and healthcare, this is not enough. Strict security laws continue to make cloud-based messaging apps complicated for enterprises.
- One-Size-Fits-All: Apps like Slack are designed with out-of-the-box features that many enterprises will find useful. However, every organization has unique needs. Enterprises in some industries need a high level of customization in order to support their highly-structured workflows.
Cloud software products aimed at a mass audience typically don’t offer the kind of customization that these organizations need. For the enterprise, this can mean complicated workarounds—or choosing an inferior solution that’s more adaptable.
8 reasons to choose a messaging solution with on-premise hosting
Large organizations need their technology to be secure, customizable, and practical on both desktop and mobile devices. With that in mind, there are eight key reasons that on-premises solutions can be a superior choice.
1. Increased control over your data security
A recent report showed that 40% of companies experience a cloud-based data breach, and 83% encrypt less than half of the data they store in the cloud. With insights like these, it’s clear that many organizations underestimate data security risks.
Relying on cloud messaging services arguably makes your enterprise more vulnerable simply because your data is connected to the internet. And while giants like Microsoft and Slack have a greater budget for security, they’re also a much bigger target for hackers.
On-site enterprise messaging solutions offer additional security and disaster recovery compared to cloud options. For instance, by having an on-premise network infrastructure, you can use firewalls for additional protection. You also have greater control over how data is exchanged between different systems, and how staff access it.
2. Fewer compliance worries
Using SaaS solutions can add extra complexity to meeting data regulations like HIPAA. This is because there is no official certification for HIPAA, so you’re merely trusting that your provider has taken sufficient security measures. To use cloud services safely, you’ll usually need additional monitoring, regular risk assessments, and additional security measures like 2-factor authentication.
For EU companies, it’s important to meet GDPR regulations. While many cloud services are compliant, EU companies need to check that their providers are meeting the right standards. For example, cloud data servers must be based in the EU or a a GDPR-compliant country—servers based in the USA do not meet GDPR.
With on-premise hosting, you have complete control over how and where your data is stored. This can often simplify the process of meeting regulations, and arguably reduces your risk of non-compliance.
3. Greater flexibility in deployment and customization
On-premise messaging solutions for enterprises offer greater control over their cloud counterparts — whether you’re using iOS, Android, Linux, or other operating systems. The nature of cloud apps means that you can’t configure them to the same extent that you can on-premise solutions.
What’s more, you can choose and install the exact data infrastructure you want for an on-premise installation. While this sometimes means increased costs up-front, it gives you greater control over the features, workflows, and security measures you use.
For example, Messagenius has an API and SDK that enables you to integrate it with the existing software and tools you use. And thanks to our white label messaging app offering, you can also customize it with your branding.
4. Full ownership of your company data
Any time you use a SaaS system, you leave your data in another company’s hands. You are at the mercy of their staff, their security systems, and their government’s jurisdiction.
While most companies are trustworthy, this lack of control presents a risk. It only takes one rogue employee or hacker at Slack, Microsoft, or other companies to access your data and systems.
Slack will even hand over your data to law enforcement under certain circumstances, according to their own FAQ. While your enterprise will obviously comply with the law, you must ask yourself who you trust more with your proprietary information—your team, or a third party company?
With on-premise hosting, no other company or entity can control where your data goes or how it’s stored. That’s why Messagenius is a great option when you want a messaging app that keeps your data in-house.
5. Bigger cost savings in the long-term (potentially)
It’s true, there can be a greater setup or installation cost for on-premise communications. However, cloud subscriptions add up over time, often making them more costly than on-premises solutions for enterprises in the long run.
Enterprises can usually afford to take the long term view. Does paying more upfront to avoid subscription fees create a better cost savings overall? If so, on-premise messaging solutions for enterprise make a great alternative to Slack or to Microsoft Teams. While there will be some ongoing maintenance fees, they may work out significantly lower than SaaS subscription costs.
Of course, the most cost-effective solution will always depend on your size, growth rate, tech needs, and the length of time you use the solution. In any case, doing your due diligence is vital. And in the case of industries like healthcare, it’s worth considering if you’ll need to purchase additional security measures to make SaaS options feasible.
6. Improved ability to avoid and plan for downtime
If a cloud-based application goes down due routine maintenance or server issues, you have no control over the issue. And while SaaS companies work hard to avoid outages, 100% uptime isn’t possible. Even global SaaS giants Salesforce experienced an unforeseen outage in 2021, leaving many customers unable to do business normally for several hours.
A major benefit of on-premise messaging is that it lets you maintain your communications infrastructure internally. With the right planning, and the right IT resources, you can minimize downtime—and when it’s absolutely necessary, you can ensure your team is ready for it.
For some organizations, this might mean carrying out key maintenance over a weekend. For others, it might mean using temporary workarounds, or switching to a backup server. Whatever the solution, being able to plan and manage downtime can help you avoid operational issues.
What’s more, hosting on-premises means you still have access to file sharing, messages, and messaging tools if your internet connection goes down.
7. Faster support from an in-house team
While some SaaS providers provide excellent customer support, others are less reliable. And when you’re having problems with a globally-adopted SaaS solution, you could be in a queue of thousands of people that also need support. What’s more, some SaaS providers will charge you extra for premium support.
This is where having on-premise IT solutions can be a huge advantage. With an in-house IT team or a trusted partner, you don’t have to rely on support from a stranger in a call center hundreds of miles away.
In addition, your IT support staff will have expertise in your unique messaging infrastructure, often leading to faster or more effective problem resolutions.
8. Enhanced attractiveness to potential partners and customers
It’s important to consider the implications of your messaging technology not only on your organization, but on other key stakeholders as well. Your organization’s partners and customers may also have proprietary systems and data that need safeguarding.
By demonstrating that security, privacy, and speed are a priority, you can attract and maintain important partners for your enterprise. And in some sectors—like government and healthcare—potential partners and customers will only work with you if you meet set security requirements.
In a post-pandemic world, remote messaging will only become more necessary and more useful. However, the ideal messaging software will depend on the your case, and even if a messaging solution is popular with other companies, it won’t always be right for yours.
Slack and other cloud messaging applications certainly offer out-of-the-box convenience to start. However, cloud-based solutions arguably bring more security risks and costs to your organization, while ultimately reducing your flexibility.
By choosing on-premises messaging solutions, you can enjoy greater control, agility, and longevity—all of which are necessary in the new communication landscape.
Looking for an on-premise messaging solution for enterprises? Check out Messagenius, the instant messaging app that gives you complete control over your data.